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A Father's Love
I waited for, what, three and a half hours?
You’d think a smart girl like me would realize she had been stood up about an hour ago, but no, I still made myself hope. I tried to make myself believe that he was going to show. But he never did. So . . .
I went home.
I wished I had never come. I didn’t need to let myself get hurt. I didn’t need another heartache from my father. Why didn’t I just listen to my mother for once? Why couldn’t I just realize that he didn’t love me? But I didn’t want it to be true.
He didn’t love me.
He didn’t care about me.
A father’s love? The biggest joke in the world. I could fully testify that.
My father left my family when I was 11. I was in sixth grade and was still trying to navigate my way through hormonal feelings and weird things happening to my body (where did those hips come from?). I couldn’t handle all of these new things and regularly went to my dad for help, but considering he was a male, he didn’t give me many answers. But I still felt close to him and was willing to let him ramble on and on about how it was natural to have lustful feelings for your male classmates because long ago there was a planet that smashed into Jupiter and it created love feelings that would soon make its way into every girl and dinosaurs would attack the green broccoli . . .
Basically, he was a strange character. And I loved him.
Until January 27th at exactly 8:23 pm of that year.
At that exact moment in time I received a text message from my dad stating:
“Georgiana. I’m not cming bck home. I <3 another woman & her fam. Im srry.” He didn’t even have the decency to put the text in proper grammar. That really steamed my clams.
My sister and my mom didn’t take it well either, but they eventually learned to live without him. “Sure, I’m sad,” my mother would reassure me. “But if he really loved me, he wouldn’t have been tempted to live with some other woman. We’ll get on without him, Georgiana. But don’t be surprised if he doesn’t come back. He has a habit of leaving the things that are good for him without second thoughts and leaving it at that.”
When she told me that, I didn’t want to believe her. I knew my father would never do something like that to us. I knew he cared for us and sometime later would come back to us; make us a real family again.
Now I’m in eleventh grade and he still hasn’t come back.
But he can’t be thought of as the bad guy completely. For his credit, when I came home from school one day, a letter was left in our mailbox. I wanted to throw it away because it looked like another one of those junk mail things (I should have), but I decided to open it and see what it said. That letter he sent me was the first reach of contact I received since the day he sent me the text message. That’s five years of not even knowing where he was.
I took it inside and immediately opened it. I’ve read it so many times since then that I could recite it to you now:
I’ve missed you, my sweet. I know you’re still mad, but I want you to know that I didn’t mean for this to happen. I loved another woman and I couldn’t live a lie. It wasn’t because the woman was younger. It was because I loved her, not your mom. I wish I hadn’t hurt you guys, but it felt so right at the time. I’m sorry to say that me and the woman who I shall not name for your sake have already broken up since then. And I will always regret the fact that I upset my family whom I loved so much for a woman whom I would soon not be with anymore. I wish I could make up for the lost time, but I know it’s not possible. So please forgive me and allow me to have another chance at maybe being your friend and then moving up to your father. Please meet me at the library across from your school so we can talk. Next Tuesday at 7pm. I know I can’t try and make myself a part of our family after 5 years, but I think it will be a good start if we talk a little.
P.S. Don’t tell your mother or your sister. I just want to talk to you.
That one letter from my Dad had made me feel whole again. That one letter made me feel like it could make up for the five years of fatherly absence. That one letter made me think it just might be possible for my Dad to change. All the years of no calls, emails, or even cryptic notes to tell us where he was in the world and if he ever thought about us could be dissolved with just one sit-and-talk session at the library.
No doubt I was going to go. I wanted my Daddy back.
Days went by in anticipation as I awaited the special day where I would reunite with my father. I didn’t tell my little sister, Emma, or even my mother. They could see a difference in me, but they didn’t know why.
Finally, on that Tuesday, I hurried out of school and ran home. I didn’t try to force myself on the bus. I had so much energy rushing through my body that I had to let it all out. I practically sprinted through the fields behind the school and crossed the road to my small neighborhood. I dashed to my house and stared at my wall clock while each minute passed.
I didn’t eat.
I sometimes blinked.
But I didn’t move.
This was the day I had been waiting for ever since he texted the 11-year-old me, “Georgiana. I’m not cming bck home.”
I was not going to miss this.
The moment the clock hit 6:30 pm and Emma had gotten tired of asking me if I had gone crazy, I dashed out the door with my sweatshirt on and headed over to the library on foot.
This. Was. It.
I waited at the library for a little while. To not look suspicious, I read books, but stayed near the front of the library. I didn’t want to miss the first sight of my dad.
But minutes went by and half hours passed and he was still a no-show. But he could have been in traffic or maybe had gotten a ticket for speeding because he was so excited to see me. He always got speeding tickets when we were still a family. He thought that speed limits didn’t apply to him. He thought that most rules of life didn’t apply to him.
Now I realize that he probably thought that always loving the people you promised to love didn’t apply to him either.
It was 10:06 pm when the library told me they couldn’t wait for me anymore. I could either check a book out at that moment or wait until tomorrow. So I decided to do just that to make my visit worth something, and you won’t be surprised that I checked out a book titled: Broken Homes – Lost Relationships.
It’s been a couple of months since that horrible visit and the librarians have said they still haven’t seen a man who looked like the man I described as my father. There was no man looking for anyone and there was no man wanting a broken daughter at the library.
My father never loved me. He never did.
That became my final word on the subject.
But then it all changed when I walked into the library one day.
I needed a book for chemistry class at the library and I didn’t plan to stay for long. I headed over to the Science aisle and peered through different shelves. The book I specifically wanted wasn’t there, but I settled for a generic book on atoms. I pulled the book from the shelf and turned around to head over to the checkout desk. But to my surprise, an unshaven man was behind me.
He had a very noticeable five o’clock shadow on his face, his clothes were wrinkled, and he smelled like the outdoors. His eyes looked like they were about to bug out of his head. The first thought that came to my mind was: Call the police.
I was prepared to scream for help and run to the librarians, but I heard the weird-looking man whisper, “Georgiana?”
I grasped the bookshelf behind me and looked for the nearest exit out of the corner of my eye. “How do you know my name? Are you stalking me?”
The man came closer to me and reached out towards my face. He fell short, but kept it hanging in midair. “I’m Daddy, baby. I’ve been looking for you.”
I let go of the bookshelf and looked deeper into the man’s eyes. He looked familiar, but if he was my father, I would be able to recognize him on the spot, even if he looked like a homeless man. “You’re not my father. If you don’t leave me alone, I’m going to yell for help and have the police on you in a couple seconds flat.”
“Georgiana, sweetie, don’t do that. I’m surprised you don’t recognize me.” He looked down at himself. “Well, I can sort of see why, but can’t you tell it’s me? I’m Daddy, sweetie. I’m the only person who knows that you had a crush on Ryan Anderson in the fifth grade and wanted to be his wife in sixth. I’m the only person who knows that you wanted to wear a double D bra when you turned fifteen. I wouldn’t know any of this stuff if you hadn’t told me, your father.”
I stared at this crazy man and tried to picture my father in him. I only told my father these secrets once and no one else. This had to be my father, but the scary thing was that I wasn’t happy to see him. Instead, I felt tired, exasperated, and frustrated. I just wanted to check out my chemistry book and go home to make in time for dinner.
“I’m sure you’re Dad, Dad, but I have to go home. I’m going to be late for dinner. If you wanted to talk, we could have talked all these past years.” I carried the book closely to my chest. “If you wanted to talk, we could have talked five months ago when you wrote for me to meet you here at seven. On a Tuesday. I waited, Dad. I waited for you for three or so hours. You didn’t show up. I need to go. Bye.”
I turned around to leave quickly, but I felt a hand grasp my shoulder and turn me around. My father looked into my eyes and softly shook his head. “I never wanted it to be like this, Georgiana. It was a mistake and I just want to be your father again.”
“And I wanted you to be my father for these past five years. Sometimes, Dad, it’s too late to make things up. And this is one of those times.”
Before he could respond, I sprinted away from him and headed to the checkout desk. From the corner of my eye, I could see him trailing behind me. When was he ever going to get the hint? I thought.
“Georgiana. Georgiana!” he said from behind me.
“I’m sorry, but could you please hurry?” I said to the librarian. “I really need to get away from someone.”
The librarian looked at the unshaven man with the crazy eyes and frowned. “Do you want me to call the police?”
I shook my head. “No, that won’t be necessary. I just need to get out of here as soon as possible.” I grabbed the books and headed out the door. My father still followed me. I turned around and pointed at him. “Dad, I need you to leave me alone for a while. You hurt me once, and then you hurt me twice. It shouldn’t surprise you that I won’t let you hurt me three times. If you want to talk, I suggest that you do it in a different way than this. Disturbing me while I’m trying to get home is not the way to do it.”
“Georgiana . . .”
“Bye, father,” I said sarcastically, turning my back on him.
“Wait, Georgiana . . .”
“Bye, father,” I said loudly.
I opened the exit doors and left him. But right before I entered the parking lot, my phone started buzzing in my pocket. It was a text message from Dad and it said: “Georgi – I stil <3 u. I’m sorry :(.”
Really, you couldn’t even use correct grammar this time?